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Air Force’s mystery space plane lands, ends 2-year mission

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In this Oct. 27, 2019 photo released by the U.S. Air Force, the Air Force’s X-37B successfully lands at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on Merritt Island in Brevard County, Fla., following a record-breaking two-year mission. (U.S. Air Force via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The Air Force’s mystery space plane is back on Earth, following a record-breaking two-year mission.

The X-37B landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida early Sunday. The Air Force is mum about what the plane did in orbit after launching aboard a SpaceX rocket in 2017. The 780-day mission sets a new endurance record for the reusable test vehicle.

It looks like a space shuttle but is one-fourth the size at 29 feet.

Officials say this latest mission successfully completed its objectives. Experiments from the Air Force Research Laboratory were aboard.

This was the fifth spaceflight by a vehicle of this sort. No. 6 is planned next year with another launch from Cape Canaveral. According to Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, “Each successive mission advances our nation’s space capabilities.”

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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